I've been doing lots of work on the truck these past few weeks, trying to get it ready for a trip.
The most pressing issue was the doors. They were rusting out and they wouldn't stay shut no matter how many times I adjusted them.
I considered pulling them apart and having the frames galvanized but they were just too far gone so I ordered some new ones.
The new doors came with that cheap black oxide coating so I took them to a local paint shop to see if they could match the CARC military paint. That turned out to be a bigger project than I realized. Because I live in a small Kansas town, there is no local paint supply so the guys that were painting my parts had to wait for the supplier to come from Topeka on their weekly runs. It took weeks of back-and-forth efforts to get the paint "matched".
In reality, the paint could never match because the CARC paint is IR-absorptive. There is proper CARC paint available in the UK but there are countless variations on my truck's NATO green. Even if I did luck out and manage to import the correct color, no painter will touch that stuff because it's so toxic. So, I had to settle for an almost-match:
The tint is correct but the new paint is shinier than the IR-absorptive stuff. It's not noticeable in daylight when the truck is dirty but under the bright lights of my garage, it's pretty bad. Oh well.
On a positive note, I had the guys seam-seal the door frames and epoxy prime them before painting so these won't be rusting up any time soon.
I also had the scrapyard tailgate painted:
...and my new driver's side floor panel to match the new R380 tunnel cover:
I put in a new set of anti-burst latches and catches, too.
Now I have doors that close and open properly and stay shut once latched.
The next order of business was the transmission brake. It had never worked very well and seemed to be getting worse and worse. I wasn't sure if the spreader mechanism was just gummed up or if the shoes were gone or what, so I opened pulled it off and discovered that it was completely soaked in gear oil.
The LT230 rear output seal had gone and soaked the asbestos pad, which was also completely glazed-over. I pulled everything off and cleaned the spreader and replaced the output seal. I had to make a little tool out of a piece of angle iron to hold the output flange while I removed the flange nut but the repair was still very easy. The only real difficulty was removing the old seal. It took me a little while to figure out but the trick for removing them is to crease the inside metal seal with a few whacks of a chisel.
I installed a new felt washer and nyloc flange nut, then installed a fresh set of shoes and adjusted the spreader to get it just right. I can rest easily now because I have a solid trans brake that will hold fast on a steep hill.
As I reassembled my driveline, I took a look at my old driveshafts. I had a TW shaft in the front that was one inch too short--a transcription error on my part when I ordered it--and a rusty, crapped-out Allmakes shaft in the rear. Both shafts had a lot of desert miles on them and needed U-joints but it was the Allmakes shaft that drove me to replace them both.
Not that it's any news to anyone here but Allmakes parts are almost universally garbage. I can't count how many failed, failing, or rusted Allmakes parts I've pulled off this truck in the last few months. I no longer have any trust for this brand and I certainly wasn't about to undertake a long trip with this driveshaft.
So, I called up Tom Wood's and ordered two new shafts. Now I would have two properly-sized driveshafts that both use the ubiquitous 1310 U-joint. Three days later, I had the new shafts, a little UPS-mangled but otherwise fine:
With the driveline rehabbed, I was excited to finally drive my truck. Sadly, the truck wouldn't start. I suspected a fuel issue so I started poking around and determined that the lift pump was kaput
. The truck had sat around all winter while I waited for my new doors and the diesel that was in the tank when winter started was already pretty old. By the time I got around to driving it, the bad diesel and lack of use had destroyed the rubber diaphragm in the lift pump. I ordered a new one from LRDirect and it was here in three days.
Once I had it installed, I took the truck out on a spring run around the Kansas countryside to visit some of our more prominent topographic features: